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This blog comments on a variety of technology news, trends, and products and how they connect. I'm in Red Hat's cloud product strategy group in my day job although I cover a broader set of topics here. This is a personal blog; the opinions are mine alone.

Updated: 2017-11-12T09:28:59.484-05:00


Eclipse IoT with Ian Skerrett of the Eclipse Foundation


For many people, Eclipse may not be the first open source organization that pops to mind when thinking about Internet-of-Things (IoT) projects. But, in fact, Eclipse hosts 28 projects that touch on a wide range of needs for organizations doing IoT projects. In September, I was attending the Eclipse IoT day and RedMonk's ThingMonk conference in London and had a chance to sit down with Ian Skerrett. Ian heads marketing for Eclipse and we spoke about Eclipse's IoT projects and how Eclipse thinks about IoT more broadly.(Apologies for the audio quality not being quite up to my usual standards. We had to record this outside, it was a windy day, and I didn’t have any recording gear to mitigate the wind noise.)Listen to podcast:MP3 [17:15]OGG [17:15]Links:iot.eclipse.orgTranscript:Gordon Haff:  Hi everyone. This is Gordon Haff, Technology Evangelist with Red Hat. You're in the Cloudy Chat podcast. I'm at London at ThingMonk, RedMonk's annual event on IoT. I'm here at Shoreditch Studios, and I'm pleased to be here with Ian Skerrett who runs marketing for the Eclipse Foundation. Welcome Ian.Ian Skerrett:  Great to be here, Gordon. Thanks for having me.Gordon:  Ian, could you start off by giving a little bit of background for yourself, how you came to be at Eclipse, and what your role is at Eclipse?Ian:  As you said, I'm working at the Eclipse Foundation, and my official title is the Vice President of Marketing. I help bring together the community and talk about what the community is doing around the different open source projects. Lots of people don't know, but Eclipse is a huge community of well over 300 projects.My specific role is on marketing, but I also deal a lot with IoT or IoT community which we're going to talk a bit more about. I probably spend half of my time on IoT right now.Gordon:  Eclipse has come a long way. I'm sure everybody listening to this has heard of Eclipse, but they probably think in terms of the IDE or some other specific development things. As you say, you have a very large presence in IoT today.Before we get into the details of, specifically, what Eclipse is doing in IoT, you gave a talk yesterday where you discussed things like Industry 4.0. That might be a useful context in order to talk about what Eclipse is doing, specifically, in IoT.Ian:  Industry 4.0 is a term that probably started in Germany. It's reflective of how things get made, if you think about a factory floor. Lots of people know about the Industrial Revolution. The first Industrial Revolution, that was the start of steam power, steam powered machines.The second Industrial Revolution was mass production. You think about car manufacturing, mass production around that.The third Industrial Revolution is credited with automation and robotics that have gone into the factory plants. Where Industry 4.0 comes from is what people talk about, the fourth Industrial Revolution, is how do you start connecting all those factory floors, the machinery and automation machinery on the factory floors to the enterprise IoT system.It's a term that comes out of Germany. Germany is the hub of industrial automation. That's where the machines that can make other machines that go into factory floors start off often. It started there. It's become an industry term that's been adopted globally and to talk about how do you start connecting up what a lot of people call the operational technology. The technology that's on the factory floor, to the enterprise IoT technology.That's the context and one industry that IoT plays into. IoT is a general term that plays in pretty well every industry out there, be it automotive, be it wearables, be it healthcare, be it industrial automation and manufacturing.Gordon:  Before we go further, you touched on something, which our listeners will be interested in. One of the questions I hear a lot is we've been connecting things up in factories forever. We've had various types of industrial control systems. Many of these systems have been connected within modern factories. From your personal perspective, from Eclipse's perspecti[...]

Red Hat's Mark Wagner on Hyperledger performance work


Mark Wagner is a performance engineer at Red Hat. He heads the Hyperledger Performance and Scalability Working Group. In this podcast, he discusses how he approaches distributed ledger performance and what we should expect to see as this technology evolves.Podcast:Listen to MP3 [13:45]Listen to OGG [13:45]Links:Podcast with Brian BehlendorfHyperledger Announces Performance and Scalability Working GroupMIT Tech Review Business of Blockchain eventMIT Sloan CIO Symposium: AI and blockchain's long gamesTranscript:Gordon Haff:   I'm sitting here with Senior Principal Performance Engineer, Mark Wagner. What we're going to talk about today is blockchain, Hyperledger, and some of the performance work that Mark's been doing around there. Mark, first introduce yourself.Mark Wagner:  My name is Mark Wagner. I'm in my 10th year here at Red Hat. My degree, from when I started many years ago, was hardware. I switched to software. I got the bug to do performance work when I saw the performance improvements I could make in software, in how things ran.Here at Red Hat, I've worked on everything from the kernel up through OpenShift and OpenStack at all the layers. My most recent assignment is in the blockchain area.Gordon: A lot of people probably associate blockchain with Bitcoin. What is blockchain, really?Mark: Blockchain itself is a technology where things are distributed. I like to think of it more as a distributed database at a really high level. Bitcoin is a particular implementation of it, but in general, blockchain ‑‑ and there's also a thing called distributed ledgers ‑‑ they're fairly similar in concept, but the blockchain itself is more for straight financial things like Bitcoin.Distributed ledgers are coming up a lot more in their uses across many different vertical markets, such as healthcare, asset tracking, IoT, and of course the financial markets, commodity trading, things like that.Gordon: As we've really seen over the last, I don't know, year or two years, there's still a lot of shaking out going on in terms of exactly what the use case is here, which of course makes the job for people like you harder when you don't know what the ultimate objectives necessarily are.Mark: Yes. It's shaking out in terms of both new verticals are being added, as well as there's multiple implementations going on right now, in a sense competing, but they're designed at different verticals in many cases, so that, in a true sense, not really competing, per se.Gordon: Now you're working in Hyperledger. Introduce Hyperledger.Mark: Hyperledger is a project in the Linux Foundation to bring open source distributed ledgers out into the world. I've been involved in it since December of 2016. Red Hat's been a member for two years.One of the things in Hyperledger, there are multiple projects within Hyperledger. The two main ones that people know are Fabric from IBM, Sawtooth from Intel. There's a bunch of smaller projects as well to complement these technologies.Both Fabric and Sawtooth are distributed ledger implementations with different consensus models and things like that, and getting to the point where they can do pluggable consensus models.One of the things that no one was doing at Hyperledger, and where I felt I could help across all the projects, is performance and scalability. People see out in the world that the Bitcoin and Ethereum stuff is not scaling. When it hits scale issues, things go poorly.I proposed in April that we have a Performance and Scale Working Group to go off, investigate this, and come up with some tests and ways to measure. It passed unanimously, but the scope was actually expanded from what I proposed, and they don't want it to just focus on Hyperledger but to focus industry‑wide.Since that time, I've been in touch with the Enterprise Ethereum Association, with the person leading their performance and scale work. In principle, we've agreed to work together.Gordon: I'm interested in some of the specific things that you've found in this performance and scale work. Maybe before we go i[...]

From Pots and Vats to Programs and Apps: Coming Soon!



Monkigras in London this past January had packaging as its theme, both in the software and the more meta sense. James Governor graciously extended me an invitation to speak. The resulting talk, A Short History of Packaging (video here), described how packaging in both retail and software has evolved from the functional to something that improves the buying and using experience.

I’d been looking to write a new book for a while. I knew I wanted it to relate to the containers, microservices, cloud broadly, etc. space, but I didn’t really have an angle. I considered just rewriting my three-year old Computing Next but so much had changed and so much remained in flux that the timing didn’t feel right.

But packaging! Now there was an angle and one that I could work on together with my Red Hat colleague William Henry (who is a senior consulting engineer and works on DevOps strategy). 

So that’s what we did. We set a target to do a book signing at Red Hat Summit in early June. We mostly made it. We signed a pre-release version and have spent the past month or so working off-and-on to polish up the contents, give colleagues the opportunity to review, and update a few things based on various industry announcements and events. 

We’re finally just about ready to go. I expect to have the paperback version orderable through Amazon by about mid-July. We’ll also be making a free PDF version available at around the same time; distribution details TBD. Given the free PDF I don’t expect to release a Kindle version. The layout of the book (sidebars, footnotes, some amount of graphics) doesn’t really lend itself to this format and it would be extra work.

The thesis of the book is that if you think about packaging broadly, it highlights critical tradeoffs.

Unpackaged and unbundled components offer ultimate flexibility, control, and customization. Packaging and bundling can simplify and improve usability—but potentially at the cost of constraining choice and future options.

Bundling can also create products that are interesting, useful, and economically viable in a way the fully disaggregated individual components may not be. Think newspapers, financial instruments, and numerous telecommunications services examples.

Open source software, composed of the ultimately malleable bits that can be modified and redistributed, offers near-infinite choice.

Yet, many software users and consumers desire a more opinionated, bundled, and yes, packaged experience—trading off choice for convenience.

This last point is a critical tension around open source software and, for lack of a better umbrella term, “the cloud” in the current era. Which makes understanding the role that packaging may play not just important, but a necessity. Ultimately, packaging enables open source to create the convenience and the ease of use that users want without giving up on innovation, community-driven development, and user control.

MIT Sloan CIO Symposium: AI and blockchain's long games


I wrote earlier about the broad transformation themes at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium last month. Today, I’m going to wrap up by taking a look at a few of the specific panels over the course of the day.Artificial IntelligenceAndrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson are regulars at this event. Their bestselling Second Machine Age focuses on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on the future of work and technological, societal, and economic progress. Their new book Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future will be available later this month. Another panel, moderated by the MIT Media Lab’s Job Ito, featured discussions on the theme “Putting AI to Work.” Like blockchain, which I’ll get to in a bit, a common thread seemed to be something along the lines of AI and machine learning being supremely important but with much still to do. In general, panelists avoided getting too specific about timelines. Ryan Gariepy, CTO & Co-Founder, Clearpath & OTTO Motors put the timing on the majority of truck driving jobs going away as a “generation.” My overall takeaway is that AI is probably be one of those things where many people are predicting greater short-term effects than is warranted while underestimating the effects over the longer term.For example, Prof. Josh Tenenbaum, Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT highlighted the difference between pattern recognition and modeling. He noted that "most of how children learn is not driven by pattern recognition” but it’s mostly pattern recognition where AI is having an impact on the market today.  He went on to say that "other parts like common sense understanding we are quite far from. We’re quite a way from a conversation.The narrative that expert systems are a thing of the past is wrong. You can't build a system that beats the world's best Go players without thinking about Go. You can't build a self-driving car without driving."Users of common “personal assistants” like Alexa have probably experienced something similar. Like a call center reading from a script, these assistants can recognize voices and act on simple command quite well. But get off script, especially in any way that requires an understanding of human behaviors, and their limitations quickly become clear.McAfee also pointed to the confluence of AI with communications technology as a major factor driving rapid change. As he puts it “two huge things are happening simultaneously: the spurt of AI and machine learning systems and, it’s easy to forget about this, but over a decade have connected humanity for the first time. Put the two together and are in very very new territory."As they do in their books, McAfee and Brynjolfsson also touched on the economic changes that these technological shifts could drive. For example, Brynjolfsson highlighted how “the underlying dynamics when you can produce things at near-zero marginal cost does tend to lead to winner takes all. The great decoupling of median wages is because a lot of the benefits have become much more concentrated."Both suggested that government policy will eventually have to play a part. As McAfee put it "times of great change are not calm times. There’s a concentration of wealth and economic activity. Concentration has some nice benefits but it leaves a lot behind.” With respect to Universal Basic Income, however, McAfee added that "a check from the government doesn't magically knit communities back together. There's a role for smart policies and smart government."BlockchainThe tone of the Trusted Data: The Role of Blockchain, Secure Identity, and Encryption panel was similar to that at Technology Review’s all-day blockchain event the prior month that I wrote about here. I’d sum it up in three bullets:It’s potentially very importantCryptocurrency existence proofs notwithstanding, as a foundational technology it’s still very early daysUse cases and archite[...]

Transformation at MIT Sloan CIO Symposium 2017


When I attend an event such as the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, as I did in Cambridge yesterday, I find myself thinking about common threads and touch points. A naive perusal of the agenda might have suggested a somewhat disparate set of emerging strategies and technologies. Digital transformation. AI. Man and Machine. Blockchain. IoT. Cloud.However, patterns emerged. We’re in such an interesting period of technology adoption and company transformation precisely because things that may at first seem loosely coupled turn out to reinforce each other. Thereby leading to powerful (and possibly unpredictable) outcomes. IoT is about data. AI is, at least in part, about taking interesting actions based on data. Cloud is about infrastructure that can support new applications for better customer experiences and more efficient operations. Blockchain may turn into a mechanism for better connecting organizations and the data they want to share. And so forth. We observe similar patters at many levels of technology stacks and throughout technology processes these days. New business imperatives require new types of applications. Delivering and operating these applications require DevOps. Their deployment demands new open hybrid infrastructures based on software-defined infrastructures and container platforms. (Which is why I spend much of my day job at Red Hat involved with platforms like OpenStack and OpenShift.)That it’s all connected is perhaps the primary theme the event reinforced. In this post, I focus on the “big picture” discussions around digital transformation. I’ll cover specific technologies such as AI in a future piece.Digital transformation on two dimensionsPeter Weill, Chairman, MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) led off the day with some research that will be made public over the next few months. This research identified change associated with digital transformation as taking place on two different dimensions: customer experience (e.g. NPS) and operational efficiency (e.g. cost to income). Companies that transform on both dimensions ("future ready firms”) have a net margin 16 points higher than the industry average.Weill emphasized that these transformations are not just about technology. “Every one in room is struggling with cultural change question,” he said. As Jeanne Ross, also of CISR put it later in the day “Digital transformation is not about technology. It’s about redesigning your value prop and that means redesigning your company."Finally, it’s worth noting that these two dimensions mirror the two aspects of IT transformation that we see more broadly. The “bimodal IT” or two-speed IT model has somewhat fallen out of fashion; it’s often seen as an overly rigid model that de-emphasizes the modernization of legacy systems. I don’t really agree although I get the argument.Nonetheless, the CISR research highlights a key point: Both IT optimization and next-generation infrastructures and applications are important. However, they require different approaches. They both need to be part of an overall strategy connecting the business and the business’ technology. But the specific tactics needed to optimize and to transform are different and can’t be treated as part of a single go-forward motion. Four decisionsRoss broke down designing for digital transformation into four decisions.The first is defining a "vision for improving the lives of customers” because this affects what innovations will pursue.The second decision is defining  whether you’ll be primarily focused on customer engagement (market driven) or digitized solutions (product driven).The third decision is defining the digital capabilities will you'll pursue. Ross said that "the operational backbone is the baseline. But you also need a digital services platform that relies on cloud, mobility, and analytics.” Such a platform emphasizes "developing components rapidly [...]

Podcast: Dr. André Baumgart of EasiER AG on jumpstarting app dev with Red Hat's Open Innovation Labs



EasiER AG used Red Hat's Open Innovation Labs to create a new category of healthcare product to improve the emergency room experience. Dr. André Baumgart is one of the founders of EasiER AG and he sat down at Red Hat Summit with myself and my Red Hat colleague Jeremy Brown to talk about his experiences with the process. (Spoiler Alert: He’s a big fan.)

Among the key points he makes is that the program focused on business outcomes and problems that need to be solved rather than technology stacks.

Also in this podcast, Jeremy Brown shares some highlights about what’s different about the Open Innovation Labs from a more traditional consulting engagement. 

Link to MP3 (12:43)

Link to OGG (12:43)



Cautiously optimistic on blockchain at MIT


Blockchain has certain similarities to a number of other emerging technologies like IoT and cloud-native broadly. There’s a lot of hype and there’s conflation of different facets or use cases that aren’t necessarily all that related to each other. I won’t say that MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain event at the Media Lab on April 18 avoided those traps entirely. But overall it did far better than average in providing a lucid and balanced perspective. In this post, I share some of the more interesting themes, discussion points, and statements from the day.It’s very earlyJoi Ito, the Director of the MIT Media Lab, captured what was probably the best description of the overall sentiment about blockchain adoption when he said that we "should have a cautious but optimistic view.” He went on to say that “it's a long game” and that we should also "be prepared for quite of bit of change.” In spite of this, he observed that there was a huge amount of investment going on. Asked why, he essentially shrugged and suggested that it was like the Internet boom where VCs and others felt they had to be part of the gold rush.  “It’s about the money." He summed up by saying "we're investing like it's 1998 but it's more like 1989."The role of standardsIn Ito’s view standards will play an important role and open standards are one of the things that we should pay attention to. However, Ito also drew further on the analogues between blockchain and the Internet when he went on to say that "where we standardize isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion” and once you lock in on a layer (such as IP in the case of the Internet), it’s harder to innovate in that space. As an example of the ongoing architectural discussion, he noted that there are "huge arguments if contracts should be a separate layer” yet we "can't really be interoperable until agree on what goes in which layer."Use casesMost of the discussion revolved around payment systems and, to a somewhat lesser degree, supply chain (e.g. provenance tracking).In addition to cryptocurrencies (with greater or lesser degrees of anonymity), payment systems also encompass using blockchains to reduce the cost of intermediaries or eliminating them entirely. This could in principle better enable micropayment or payment systems for individuals who are currently unbanked. Robleh Ali, a research scientist in MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative notes that there’s “very little competition in the financial sector. It’s hard to enter for regulatory and other reasons." In his opinion, even if blockchain-based payment systems didn’t eliminate the role of banks, moving money outside the financial system would put pressure on them to reduce fees.A couple of other well-worn blockchain examples involve supply chains. Everledger uses blockchain to track features such as diamond cut and quality, as well as monitoring diamonds from war zones. Another recent example comes from IBM and Maersk who say that they are using blockchain to "manage transactions among network of shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and customs authorities.” (IBM has been very involved with the Hyperledger Project, which my employer Red Hat is also a member of. For more background on Hyperledger, check out my podcast and discussion with Brian Behlendorf—who also spoke at this event—from a couple months back.)It’s at least plausible that supply chain could be a good fit for blockchain. There’s a lot of interest in better tracking assets as they flow through a web of disconnected entities. And it’s an area that doesn’t have much in the way of well-established governing entities or standardized practices and systems. IdentityThis topic kept coming up in various forms. Amber Baldet of JP Morgan went so far as to say “If we get identity wrong, it will undermine everything else. [...]

DevOps Culture: continuous improvement for Digital Transformation


In contrast to even tightly-run enterprise software practices, the speed at which big Internet businesses such as Amazon and Netflix can enhance, update, and tune their customer-facing services can be eye opening. Yet a miniscule number of these deployments cause any kind of outage. These companies are different from more traditional businesses in many ways. Nonetheless they set benchmarks for what is possible. Enterprise IT organizations must do likewise if they’re to rapidly create and iterate on the new types of digital services needed to succeed in the marketplace today. Customers demand anywhere/anywhen self-service transactions and winning businesses meet those demands better than their competition. Operational decisions within organizations also must increasingly be informed by data and analytics, requiring another whole set of applications and data sets.Amazon and Netflix got to where they are using DevOps. DevOps touches many different aspects of the software development, delivery, and operations process. But, at a high level, it can be thought of as applying open source principles and practices to automation, platform design, and culture. The goal is to make the overall process associated with software faster, more flexible, and incremental. Ideas like the continuous improvement based on metrics and data that have transformed manufacturing in many industries are at the heart of the DevOps concept.Development tools and other technologies are certainly part of DevOps. Pervasive and consistent automation is often used as a way to jumpstart DevOps in an organization. Playbooks that encode complex multi-part tasks improve both speed and consistency. It can also improve security by reducing the number of error-prone manual processes. Even narrowly targeted uses of automation are a highly effective way for organizations to gain immediate value from DevOps.Modern application platforms, such as those based on containers, can also enable more modular software architectures and provide a flexible foundation for implementing DevOps. At the organizational level, a container platform allows for appropriate ownership of the technology stack and processes, reducing hand-offs and the costly change coordination that comes with them. However, even with the best tools and platforms in place, DevOps initiatives will fail unless an organization develops the right kind of culture. One of the key transformational elements is developing trust among developers, operations, IT management, and business owners through openness and accountability. In addition to being a source of innovative tooling, open source serves as a great model for the iterative development, open collaboration, and transparent communities that DevOps requires to succeed.Ultimately, DevOps becomes most effective when its principles pervade an organization rather than being limited to developer and IT operations roles. This includes putting the incentives in place to encourage experimentation and (fast) failure, transparency in decision-making, and reward systems that encourage trust and cooperation. The rich communication flows that characterize many distributed open source projects are likewise important to both DevOps initiatives and modern organizations more broadly.Shifting culture is always challenging and often needs to be an evolution. For example, Target CIO Mike McNamara noted in a recent interview that “What you come up against is: ‘My area can’t be agile because…’ It’s a natural resistance to change – and in some mission-critical areas, the concerns are warranted. So in those areas, we started developing releases in an agile manner but still released in a controlled environment. As teams got more comfortable with the process and the tools that support continuous integration and continuous deployment, they just naturally sta[...]

DevSecOps at Red Hat Summit 2017



We’re starting to hear “DevSecOps" mentioned a lot. The term causes some DevOps purists to roll their eyes and insist that security has always been part of DevOps. If you press hard enough, they may even pull out a well-thumbed copy of The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim et al. [1] and point to the many passages which discuss making security part of the process from the beginning rather than a big barrier at the end.

But the reality is that security is often something apart from DevOps even today. Even if DevOps should include continuously integrating and automating security at scale. It’s at least in part because security and compliance operated largely in their own world historically. At a DevOpsDays event last year, one senior security professional even told me that this was the first IT event that was not security-specific that he had ever attended.

With that context, I’d like to point you to a session that my colleague William Henry and I will be giving at Red Hat Summit on May 3. In DevSecOps the open source way we’ll discuss how the IT environment has changed across both development and operations. Think characteristics and technologies like microservices, component reuse, automation, pervasive access, immutability, flexible deploys, rapid tech churn, software-defined everything, a much faster pace, and containers.

Risk has to be managed across all of these. (Which is also a change. Historically, we tended to talk in terms of eliminating risk while today it’s more about managing risk in a business context.)

Doing so requires securing the software assets that get built and well as the machinery doing the building. It requires securing the development process from the source code through the rest of the software supply chain. It requires securing deployments and ongoing operations continuously and not just at a point in time. And it requires securing both the application and the container platform APIs.

We hope to see you at our talk. But whether or not you can make it to see us specifically, we hope that you can make it to Red Hat Summit in Boston from May 2-4. I’m also going to put in a plug for the OpenShift Commons Gathering on the day before (Monday, May 1).


[1] If you’re reading this, you’ve almost certainly heard of The Phoenix Project. But, if not, it’s a fable of sorts about making IT more flexible, effective, and agile. It’s widely cited as one of the source texts for the DevOps movement.

Links for 04-13-2017


3 open source web design templates | Opensource.comFitbit’s smartwatch struggles are real and not just in hardware - The VergeThreads on VimeoLet's Tell a Story TogetherTwitter - RT @asheshbadani: The actual list of @openshift customers speaking @RedHatSummit is even larger. Get to Boston in early April!! Bruce Conner's restored mushroom clouds: You can't look away - LA TimesThe Data Visualisation CatalogueThe IoT Testing Atlas | ThoughtWorksTwitter - RT @dberkholz: Still waiting for the non-laptop experience to stop sucking for creators rather than consumers What makes us Red Hat - What Makes Us Red Hat. Really great piece. #redhatTwitter - RT @apanouss: “Digital transformation — brought to you by open hybrid cloud” by @ghaff Untitled ( - SNEAK PEEK: The latest #opensourcestories trailer is here. See the full film at #RHSummit. Speakers | Red Hat Summit 2017 - Great speaker lineup at #RHSummit I’ll also be talking on DevSecOps with @ipbabble Flickr - My photos from #openshift Commons Gathering in Berlin Connections: Upcoming: MIT Sloan CIO Symposium - Was able to wrangle schedule so I can attend MIT Sloan CIO Symposium again on 5/24. I’m hosting lunch discussion. OpenJDK and Containers – RHD Blog - RT @RealGeneKim: Ah: turning the JVM runtime. Still necessary, esp inside socket: Red Hat blog: OpenJDK and Containers Twitter - RT @kernelcdub: Amadeus describing processing 40-70B transactions per day with thousands of microservices #ONS2017 Intel Vigorously Defends Chip Innovation Progress - "Intel Vigorously Defends Chip Innovation Progress" Good read as always from TPM. Thoughts and Perspectives from OpenShift Commons Berlin – OpenShift Blog - RT @joefern1: "Volvo migrated their car buying system to containers and onto OpenShift" >>Websphere on #Kubernetes in @Openshift Release v0.1 · kubernetes-incubator/cri-o · GitHub - RT @kelseyhightower: The cri-o 0.1 release is a huge milestone and demonstrates the value of the Kubernetes container runtime interface. [...]

Podcasts: Talking cloud native projects at CloudNativeCon in Berlin



Eduardo Silva, Fluentd/Treasure Data

A project within the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Fluentd is focused on logging, pulling together data from a variety of sources and sending it to a back-end. Eduardo Silva spoke with me at CloudNativeCon in Berlin about Fluentd and its flexible architecture for plug-ins. Fluentd is widely used for tasks like aggregating mobile stats and to understand how games are behaving.

Listen to MP3 (15:10)

Listen to OGG (15:10)

Miek Gieben, CoreDNS

CoreDNS, which provides cloud-native DNS server and service discovery, recently joined the CNCF. In this podcast Miek provides  context about DNS and explains how today’s more dynamic environments aren’t always a good match with traditional approaches to DNS. Miek takes us through how CoreDNS came to be and discusses some possible future paths that it might take.

Listen to MP3 (12:24)

Listen to OGG (12:24)

Björn Rabenstein, Prometheus/SoundCloud

Bjorn Rabenstein of SoundCloud sat down with me at CloudNativeCon in Berlin to discuss Prometheus, the first project to be brought into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation after Kubernetes. Prometheus is a popular open-source monitoring system with a dimensional data model, flexible query language, efficient time series database and modern alerting approach. In this podcast, we get into the background behind Prometheus, why new monitoring tools are needed for cloud-native, and when you should wake people up with an alert--and when you shouldn't.

Listen to MP3 (16:38)

Listen to OGG (16:38)

Sarah Novotny, Kubernetes/Google

Sarah Novotny does open source community for Google Cloud and is also the program manager of the Kubernetes community. She has years of experience in open source communities including MySQL and NGINX. In the podcast we cover the challenges inherent in shifting from a company-led project to a community-led one, principles that can lead to more successful communities, and how to structure decision-making.

I’ve written an article with excerpts from this podcast which will appear on I’ll link to it from here when it’s available.

Listen to MP3 (20:54)

Listen to OGG (20:54)

Upcoming: MIT Sloan CIO Symposium


My May schedule has been something of a train wreck given a Red Hat Summit in Boston (use code SOC17 for a discount) that’s earlier than usual and generally lots of events in flight. As a result, I didn’t know until a couple of days ago whether I would be able to attend this year’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium on May 24. I always look forward to going. This is admittedly in part because I get to hop on a train for an hour ride into Cambridge rather than a metal sky tube for many hours.But it’s also because the event brings together executives who spend a lot of time focusing on the business aspects of technology change. As you’d expect from an MIT event, there’s also a heavy academic component from MIT and elsewhere. Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Sandy Pentland are regulars. As I have for the past few years, I’ll be hosting a lunchtime discussion table on a topic TBD as well as covering the event in this blog afterwards. Data, security, and IoT at MIT Sloan CIO Symposium 2016MIT Sloan CIO Symposium 2015: Dealing with DisruptionThis year the Symposium will focus on the theme, “The CIO Adventure: Now, Next and… Beyond,” and will provide attendees with a roadmap for the changing digital landscape ahead. Among the associated topics are challenges of digital transformation, talent shortages, executive advancement to the C-suite, and leading-edge research.Here’s some additional information from the event organizers:The full agenda is available at Highlights include: Kickoff Panel: “Pathways to Future Ready: The Digital Playbook” will discuss a framework for digital transformation and facilitate a conversation on lessons learned from executives leading these transformations. Virtually every company is working on transforming their business for the digital era and this panel will provide a playbook for digital. Featuring Peter Weill, Chairman, MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research (CISR); Jim Fowler, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, General Electric; David Gledhill, Group Chief Information Officer and Head of Group Technology & Operations, DBS; and Lucille Mayer, Head of Client Experience Delivery and Global Innovation, BNY Mellon. Fireside Chat: “Machine | Platform | Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” will be moderated by Jason Pontin, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of MIT Technology Review and feature Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, and Andy McAfee, Co-Director, of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), discussing what they call "the second phase of the second machine age." This phase has a greater sense of urgency, as technologies are demonstrating that they can do much more than just the type of work we have thought of as routine. The last time new technologies had such a huge impact on the business world was about a century ago, when electricity took over from steam power and transformed manufacturing. Many successful incumbent companies, in fact most of them, did not survive this transition. This panel will enable CIOs to rethink the balance between minds and machines, between products and platforms, and between the core and the crowd.Other panel sessions driven by key IT leaders, practitioners, and MIT researchers will include:“The Cognitive Company: Incremental Present, Transformational Future”; “Cloud Strategies: The Next Level of Digital Transformation”; “The CIO Adventure: Insights from the Leadership Award Finalists”; “Preparing for the Future of Work”; “Expanding the Reach of Digital Innovation”; “Running IT Like a Factory”; “Navigating the Clouds”; “Winning with the Internet of Things”; “Talent Wars in the Digital Age”; “Who’s Really Responsible for Technol[...]

Links for 03-17-2017


Video: A Short History of Packaging


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From Monkigras London 2017

We’re in the middle of big changes in how we bundle up software and deliver it. But packaging didn’t start with software. I take you on a tour of how we’ve packaged up goods for consumption over time and--more importantly--why we did so and what different approaches we’ve taken then and now. The goal of this talk is to take the packaging discussion up a level so to better focus on the fundamental objectives and some of the broad approaches and trade-offs associated with achieving them.

Final Open Source Leadership Summit podcast roundup


I recorded a number of podcasts at the Open Source Leadership Summit in Lake Tahoe last month. Most of them are with heads of the various foundations under the Linux Foundation. They’re each about 15 minutes long. In addition to the podcasts themselves linked to from the blog posts, five of them have transcripts and two have stories on opensource.comHeather Kirksey, Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) "Telecom operators are looking to rethink, reimagine, and transform their networks from things being built on proprietary boxes to dynamic cloud applications with a lot more being in software. [This lets them] provision services more quickly, allocate bandwidth more dynamically, and scale out and scale in more effectively."Mikeal Rogers, node"The shift that we made was to create a support system and an education system to take a user and turn them into a contributor, first at a very low level and educate them to bring them into the committer pool and eventually into the maintainer pool. The end result of this is that we have a wide range of skillsets. Rather than trying to attract phenomenal developers, we're creating new phenomenal developers."Connections with transcriptsBrian Behlendorf, Hyperledger "That's what gets me excited is these positive social impacts that at the same time, are also potentially helping solve structural problems for the business sector. I haven't seen that kind of synergy, that kind of combination of value from these two different things since the early days of the Internet."Dan Kohn, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)"When you have those developers that feel like their contributions are valued and taken seriously, then there's a whole ecosystem that forms around them, of companies that are interested in offering services to them, employing them, that want to make these services available to other folks. Then a foundation like ours can come up and help make those services available. I really think that, that developer focus is the key thing to keep in mind."Nicko Van Someren, Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII)  "Going forwards, we're trying to move to probably put more into the strategic stuff, because we feel like we can get better leverage, more magnification of the effect, if we put money into a tool and the capabilities to use that tool. I think one of the things we're looking at for 2017 is work to improve the usability of a lot of security tools.There's no shortage of great tools for doing static analysis or fuzz testing, but there is often a difficulty in making it easy for you to integrate those into a continuous test process for an open‑source project. Trying to build things to make it easier to deploy the existing open‑source tools is an area in the strategic spin that we want to put a lot into in 2017."Chris Aniszczyk, Open Container Initiative (OCI) "People have learned their lessons, and I think they want to standardize on the thing that will allow the market to grow. Everyone wants containers to be super‑successful, run everywhere, build out the business, and then compete on the actual higher levels, sell services and products around that, and not try to fragment the market in a way where people won't adopt containers, because they're scared that it's not ready, it's a technology that's still [laughs] being developed."Al Gillen, IDC “With container technology and the ability to produce a true cloud‑native application that's running on some kind of a framework which happens to be available on‑prem or in cloud, you suddenly have the ability to move that application on‑prem or off‑prem, or both ‑‑ run in b[...]

Podcast: Talking open source and communities with {code} by Dell EMC


Josh Bernstein, VP of Technology, and Clint Kitson, Technical Director for {code} by Dell EMC sat down with me at the Open Source Leadership Summit to talk about their plans for this strategic initiative.

{code} by Dell EMC

Link to MP3 (00:13:22)
Link to OGG (00:13:22)

Podcast: Security and Core Infrastructure Initiative with Nicko Van Someren


As the CTO of the Linux Foundation, Nicko Van Someren also heads the Cloud Infrastructure Initiative. The CII was created in the wake of high visibility issues with widely-used but poorly funded open source infrastructure projects. (Most notably, the Heartbleed vulnerability with OpenSSL.) In this podcast, Nicko discusses how the CII works, his strategy moving forward, and how consumers of open source software can improve their security outcomes.In addition to discussing the CII directly, Nicko also talked about encouraging open source developers to think about security as a high priority throughout the development process--as well as the need to cultivate this sort of thinking, and to get buy-in, across the entire community.Nicko also offered advice about keeping yourself safe as a consumer of open source. His first point was that you need to know what code you have in your product. His second was to get involved with open source projects that are important to your product because "open source projects fail when the community around them fails."Core Infrastructure Initiative, which includes links to a variety of resources created by the CIIAudio:Link to MP3 (00:15:01)Link to OGG (00:15:01)Transcript:Gordon Haff:   I'm sitting here with Nicko van Someren, who's the CTO of the Linux Foundation, and he heads the Core Infrastructure Initiative. Nicko, give a bit of your background, and explain what the CII is?Nicko van Someren:  Sure. My background's in security. I've been in the industry‑side of security for 20 plus years, but I joined the Linux Foundation a year ago to head up the Core Infrastructure Initiative, which is a program to try and drive improvement in the security outcomes in open‑source projects. In particular, in the projects that underpin an awful lot of the Internet and the businesses that we run on it. The infrastructural components, those bits of open source that we all depend on, even if we don't see them on a day‑to‑day basis.Gordon:  Around the time that you came in, you've been in the job, what, a little over a year, is that right? There were some pretty high visibility issues with some of that infrastructure.Nicko:  Yeah, and I think it goes back a couple of years further. Around three years ago, the Core Infrastructure Initiative ‑‑ we call it the CII ‑‑ was set up, largely in the wake of the Heartbleed bug, which impacted nearly 70 percent of the web servers on the planet.We saw a vulnerability in a major open‑source project, which had very profound impact on people across the board, whether they were in the open‑source community, or whether they were running commercial systems, or whether they were building products on top of open source. All of these people were impacted by this very significant bug.While the community moved swiftly to fix the bug and get the patch out there, it became very apparent that as the world becomes more dependent on open‑source software, it becomes more and more critical that those who are dependent on it support the development of those projects and support improving the security outcomes of those projects.Gordon:  Many of the projects that we're talking about there, was a tragedy of the commons sort of situation, where you had a few volunteers ‑‑ not being paid by anyone, asking for donations on their PayPal accounts-- who, in many cases, were responsible for these very critical systems.Nicko:  Absolutely. Probably trillions of dollars of business were being done in 2014 on Open SSL, and yet in 2013, they received 3,000 bucks wort[...]

Podcast: Open source and cloud trends with IDC's Al Gillen


Al Gillen is responsible for open source research and oversees developer and DevOps research at IDC. Al gave a keynote at the Open Source Leadership Summit at which he provided some historical context for what's happening today in open source and presented recent research on digital transformation, commercial open source support requirements, and how organizations are thinking about cloud-native architecture adoption and deployment.Listen to the podcast for the whole conversation but a few specific points that Al made were:Digital transformation can be thought of as taking physically connected systems and logically connecting them, i.e. connecting the processes, the data, and the decision-making.It's important to bridge new cloud-native systems to existing functionality. Organizations are not going to be rewriting old applications for the most part and those "legacy" systems still have a great deal of value.Enterprises are asking for open source DevOps tools, but most are specifically asking for commercially-supported open source tools.Audio:Link to MP3 (00:15:46)Link to OGG (00:15:46)Transcript:Gordon Haff:  Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of the "Cloudy Chat" podcast. I'm here at the Open Source Leadership Summit with Al Gillen of IDC, who gave one of the keynotes this morning. Welcome, Al. How about giving a little background about yourself?Al Gillen:  Hey, Gordon, thanks a lot. Thanks, everybody for listening. This is Al Gillen. I'm a group vice president at IDC. I'm responsible for our open source research, and oversee our developer and DevOps research.Gordon:  One of the things you went through in your keynote this morning was the historical perspective of how Linux is developed. Both of us have pretty much been following Linux from the beginning, certainly from its beginnings as something that was interesting commercially. Maybe you could recap that in a couple of minutes or so.Al:  I actually went back to a presentation I delivered to the Linux Foundation, an event at the Collaboration Summit that was back in 2008. I pulled those slides up, because I was curious. "What can I learn from what we talked about back then, and how does that relate to what's going on in the industry today?"I went back, and I pulled up the deck. I was looking at some of the things that I thought were really interesting. For example, I was looking at one of the first pieces of data, which compared perceptions of Linux from 1999 and 2001.Remember what the time frame was there. Linux had only just begun to be commercially accepted in the '99‑2000/2001 time frame. One of the things that served as a significant accelerator for Linux at that time frame was the dot‑com bust.What happened then is we had a big contraction in the stock market. Most large companies, what they did is they went and they started to cut costs. We all know that one of the places they first cut costs is IT.Suddenly, the IT departments were charged with standing up new Web servers and new network‑infrastructure servers and so forth, and they had no budget to do it. What did they do?They went and they got a free copy of Linux. They recycled a well‑equipped PC or x86 server that had been taken out of service, and they turned it into a Linux server.When we look back at the data that we saw then, really, one of the big drivers for Linux was initial price. People said, "Yeah, it was great. The cost was really low." One of the things that was also amazing was the users back then rated the reliability of Linux as very, very high.In f[...]

Podcast: Open Container Initiative with Chris Aniszczyk


Chris Aniszczyk is the Executive Director of the Open Container Initiative (OCI). I sat down with Chris at the Open Source Leadership Summit where we discussed the role of the OCI, how it relates to other efforts such as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and future directions for the organization.Among the topics that we covered were:How the OCI primarily focuses on areas where standardization is criticalThe OCI's relationship to the Cloud Native Computing FoundationFuture directions, especially in distributionHow the industry has changed to encourage this sort of organizationSome links:Open Container InitiativePodcast with Dan Kohn of the Cloud Native Computing FoundationCloud-native landscape on githubAudio:MP3 (00:12:51)OGG (00:12:51)Transcript: Gordon Haff:  First of all, probably a lot of our listeners know what the OCI [Open Container Initiative] is, but maybe a little background for those who don't.Chris Aniszczyk:  The OCI came together a little over a year ago when there was a desire to come and standardize on container runtime and format, instead of having different competing implementations out there, which would ruin the original promise of containers being truly portable, vendor neutral, and all that good stuff. The OCI was created to build the standard around the container format and runtime.Gordon:  Has it been successful?Chris:  I think it's been going great. We originally started out the project with...Docker donated something at the time called Libcontainer, which morphed into runC. runC has grown and seen lot of success. It's embedded in Cloud Foundry.Of course it exists in Docker's containerd, Engine, and all that stuff. Kubernetes is picking it up in its container runtime interface, and runC and the runtime specification is becoming the de facto way to execute containers, which is great.Another aspect of the OCI...when the OCI started, it focused just on the runtime spec. About six months after the project was started, the OCI technical oversight board said, "Hey, we should consider standardizing on the image format," so the image specification project was created at OCI. There's been a lot of good work in that area.We've seen just recently, like a week ago, Amazon announced in their ECR product, the Elastic Container Registry, that they support the draft of the OCI specifications. Pretty much, most other projects are adopting the image specs. I think in general we've made a ton of progress in many fronts. Mostly any system that runs a container is probably using some of form of OCI technology.Gordon:  When do you see that spec being finalized, getting to a v 1.0 level?Chris:  Last week, for both specifications ‑‑ the runtime spec and the image spec ‑‑ we released v1.0 RC4, release candidate 4. In OCI parlance, what that means is there's been four release candidates, but in order for them to declare a 1.0, they need at least three.We have the minimum requirements set. It's just a matter of when developers are happy with the stability, and when they want to bless it as a 1.0. My personal feeling is we'll see RC5 or RC6 will be the 1.0 final. That's a month or two away.Gordon:  Obviously, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation is also a Linux Foundation. Another podcast, which I did, which will be linked to from this one, was with Dan Kohn, who's the executive director there. In your copious spare time, you work with the CNCF, as well. How do you see, the groups relating?Chris:  I served as an e[...]

Podcast: Cloud Native Computing Foundation with Dan Kohn


Dan Kohn is the Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. In this podcast, he discusses the goals of the CNCF and the reason why Kubernetes is under the CNCF's umbrella--plus his take on serverless computing. In addition to Kubernetes, the CNCF also hosts Prometheus, Fluentd, OpenTracing, and Linkerd.In the links below, check out the cloud-native landscape in particular, which catalogs the broad set of projects playing within this technology area. As Dan puts it: "Kubernetes is the cornerstone of a containerization and orchestration solution but is not a complete solution."Cloud-native landscape on githubBlog post about cloud-native landscapeCloud Native Computing FoundationCloudNativeCon Berlin, March 29-30Audio:Link to MP3 (0:22:25)Link to OGG (0:22:25)Transcript:Gordon Haff:  Hello everyone. Welcome to another edition of the "Cloudy Chat" podcast. This is Gordon Haff, technology evangelists with Red Hat, and I'm sitting here, at the Open Source Leadership Summit in lovely Lake Tahoe, with Dan Kohn, who is the Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which is under the Linux Foundation. Welcome Dan.Dan Kohn:  Thank you very much. Glad to be here.Gordon:  Dan, first of all, could you give us a little bit of background about yourself?Dan:  Sure. I actually used to be the Chief Operating Officer of the Linux Foundation a decade ago, when it was a much smaller organization, back when there was just a few of us. I helped Jim, the Executive Director merge together the two predecessor organizations. I then went off and worked on a few startups, one of my own, one of another.Then as the Linux Foundation has grown and brought in new organizations under it, and it has become a foundation of foundations. Jim has been recruiting in different folks to run the different sub‑foundations and pulled me back into run the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.Gordon:  Cloud Native Computing Foundation is probably best known as the home of Kubernetes. That’s a very well known container orchestration platform. Maybe we'll start off talking about Kubernetes, and how you see the role of the CNCF with respect to Kubernetes is? How you see things are going? Then maybe about what are some the next steps you see happening are?Dan:  Sure. We definitely are incredibly proud to be the host for Kubernetes. It's one of the most exciting software projects on the Internet today. It's also one of the highest velocity projects by almost any metric of number of commits per day, number of companies participating, number of developers participating, total volume of issues, pull requests. It's actually, probably just second or third behind the Linux itself in terms of velocity that it's been able to keep up.Then even more than that, it's just the fact that it's out there solving real problems for users, for enterprises, for startups, all kinds of companies today, both in the public cloud and bare metal and private clouds where a containerization is this trend that's taking over the world to allow people to run all kinds of different applications in a variety of different environments.When they do that they need an orchestration solution in order to keep track of all of those containers and schedule them and orchestrate them. Kubernetes is an increasingly popular way to do that.Gordon:  Before it joined the CNCF or really formed the core of the CNCF, Kubernetes was already becoming pretty popular. Although there was contrib[...]

Podcast: Blockchain and Hyperledger with Brian Behlendorf


I sat down with Brian Behlendorf, the executive director of the Hyperledger project, while I was out at Lake Tahoe for the Open Source Leadership Summit last week. The Hyperledger project is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It works as essentially an umbrella project on top of projects such as Fabric and Sawtooth Lake.Brian was a primary developer of the Apache Web Server and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. In our conversation, he covered topics such as balancing innovation and standardization, the use of blockchains for transactions within consortiums of competing organizations, technical challenges, and early examples of blockchains use that go beyond cryptocurrencies.Hyperledger projectUse of blockchain to stop spread of conflict diamondsCurrent Hyperledger projectsVideo: State of Blockchain (OSLS Keynote), Christopher Ferris, IBMAudio:Link to MP3 (0:14:32)Link to OGG (0:14:32)Transcript:Gordon Haff:  Brian Behlendorf's the Executive Director of the Hyperledger Project, which is basically a blockchain project. Brian, you were just giving a talk, and someone said that was the most laid‑back talk about blockchain they had ever heard.I think you're probably a great person to give a real quick summary of what blockchain means in the context of Hyperledger without the hype.Brian Behlendorf:  I thought that was a nice way of him saying that my voice put him to sleep. Hopefully, I won't do the same to your listeners.Now, we take a very pragmatic view of what's being built here, and what the world has needed, really, in this space.Think of it as a decentralized database where the heads of that database, the nodes on that network, are potentially competitive, potentially rivalrous, and yet, they all have business that they need to transact together. They all need a system of record that keeps the order and the data of what they've transacted consistent and clear.On top of that, you can build a lot of interesting things. You can have validation logic at each of these nodes so that you can do things like keep somebody from spending the same asset twice, or doing the same transaction twice for two different people. This is why you can build a cryptocurrency on top.Cryptocurrencies are one kind of application, but there are lots of other types of assets that you would track in the system, lots of other kinds of data that you might log. The temperature here in Lake Tahoe might be a bit of data we want to record for permanence, because maybe I have an insurance contract that depends upon that data being accurately recorded, and never being able to be deleted.We also take the point of view that these networks don't have to be the size of the whole wide world, that there are interesting systems of record built by consortia, built by collections of organizations, companies, government agencies, those sorts of things, where you don't need to have the physics of a cryptocurrency to be able to allow for these interesting applications to be built.Hopefully, that dumbs it down a bit. On top of that, you can build amazing things ‑‑ smart contracts, that sort of thing, but at its core, that's what it is, and that's what we're shipping product today around.Gordon:  From what you just said, I think maybe the best segue into, "What does blockchain give us in a private or semi‑private consortia, I think is the term you used, context that a more tra[...]

Podcast: Why sysadmins hate containers with Mark Lamourine


In this podcast, Red Hat's Mark Lamourine brings the perspective of a former sysadmin to explain why containers can seem like a lot of work and potential risk without corresponding benefit. We also discuss the OpenShift Container Platform as well as a couple of Fedora projects aimed at removing barriers to sysadmin container adoption.Show notes:Containers overviewPodcast on configuration management with MarkOpenShiftFedora ModularityFedora Layered Docker Image Build Service Audio:Link to MP3 (0:29:20)Link to OGG (0:29:20)[Transcript]Gordon Haff:  Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of the "Cloudy Chat" podcast. I have my former partner in crime, Mark Lamourine, back with me today. He's been off doing some other things.Mark came to me with a fantastic title for a podcast, and I knew I just had to sit down with him, "Why Do Sysadmins Hate Containers?"Mark, you've been a sysadmin.Mark Lamourine:  That's my background. My background is a system administrator. I have computer science degree, but I've spent most of my time either as a system administrator or as a developer advocating for system administrators who have to manage the software that people I'm working with produce.Gordon:  I go to an event, like Amazon re:Invent, for example, and there are a lot of sysadmins there, maybe a little more new‑age system admins, DevOps, whatever the popular term is this week. They seem to love containers. Where do you make that statement from?Mark:  There's actually two. What brought this up to me was I was at the LISA Conference, LISA16, in Boston this fall. I noticed that there were only a couple of talks, one tutorial, and a couple of books on containers. There was a lot of the other traditional sysadmin things. There's new tools. There's people learning different areas.I was there because I assumed that sysadmins were going to still think that containers are growing and that this would be a big thing coming. There was some of that, but I got an awful lot of, "Yeah, we don't do containers. We tried containers. It didn't work. That's old hat." There were a whole bunch of things which ranged from disinterest to disdain for containers among that group of people.The difference between that group and a group at re:Invent is that re:Invent is specifically aimed at the technology. It's aimed at that company. It's aimed at Amazon. All the people who come are self‑selecting interested in cloud, in Amazon, in their products, and in their tools.At LISA, the self‑selection is I am a professional system administrator without regard to the technology I use. There were a bunch of people there who use Amazon. They use virtual machines. They use cloud. They didn't find containers to be a compelling thing to follow.Gordon:  Why don't they find containers a compelling thing to follow when everyone says they're so great?Mark:  There were a number of different reasons that I heard. Some of them were just misinformation. There were people who said, "Yeah, we knew about that with jails." In 1970s, BSD had jails in its chroot. I'm not going to go into it, but there's an answer to that. Containers are not that. That was a very old thing.I liken that to saying, "Well, this guy, Jameson," or, whatever his name was, in France, "discovered inoculation back in the 1800s. Why do we need flu vaccines and monoclonal antibodies?"Gordon:  It's like, "Oh, what's this cloud thing? We had time‑sharing." "Oh, virtualization. That was[...]

Optimizing the Ops in DevOps


This post is based on my recent presentation at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley in November 2016. You can see the entire presentation here. We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS—and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up—such as developers taking ownership of code and pulling pager duty.We also talk about culture a great deal in the context of developers and DevOps. About touchy-feely topics like empathy, trust, learning, cooperation, and responsibility. It can all be a bit kumbaya.What about the Ops in DevOps? Or, really, about the other constituencies who should be part of the DevOps process, workflow, and even culture? Indeed, DevSecOps is gaining some traction as a term. DevOps purists may chafe at “DevSecOps" given that security and other important practices are supposed to already be an integral part of routine DevOps workflows. But the reality is that security often gets more lip service than thoughtful and systematic integration.But what’s really going on here is that we need to get away from thinking about Ops-as-usual (or Security-as-usual) in the DevOps context at all. This is really what Adrian Cockcroft was getting at with the NoOps term; he didn’t coin it but his post about NoOps while he was at Netflix kicked off something of an online kerfuffle. Netflix is something of a special case because they are so all-in on Amazon Web Services, but Adrian was getting at something that’s more broadly applicable. Namely that, in evolved or mature DevOps, a lot of what Ops does is put core services in place and get out of the way.Ironically, this runs somewhat counter to the initial image of breaking down the wall between Dev and Ops. Yes, DevOps does involve greater transparency, collaboration, and so forth to break down siloed behaviors but there’s perhaps an even stronger element of putting infrastructure, processes, and tools in place so that Devs doesn’t need to interact with Ops as much while being (even more) effective. One of the analogies I like to use is that I don’t want to streamline my interactions with a bank teller. For routine and even not so routine transactions, I just want to use an ATM or even my smartphone.It’s up to Ops to build and operate the infrastructure supporting those streamlined transactions. Provide core services through a modern container platform. Enable effective automated developer workflows. Mitigate risk and automate security. But largely stay behind the scenes. Of course, you still want to have good communication flows between developers and operations teams; you just want to make those communications unnecessary much of the time.(At the same time, it’s important for Dev and Ops teams to understand how they can mutually benefit by using appropriate container management and other toolchains. There’s still too much of a tendency by both groups to think of something as an “ops tool” or a “dev tool.” But that’s a topic for another day.)Let’s look at each of those three areas.Modern container platformA DevOps approach can be applied just [...]